Scouting Report: Wolves vs. Grizzlies


Mark Remme
Wolves Editor/Writer

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Wolves vs. Grizzlies 7 PM - Target Center
Where to Watch: FS North
Where to Listen: 830 AM WCCO

*Get your questions on the radio airwaves during halftime! Just tweet questions to @WolvesRadio and listen to the halftime show hosted by John Focke on 1130 AM.

The Timberwolves are now at the midway point of their five-game home stand, and they're taking full advantage on their home court. Minnesota secured back-to-back wins with a 106-96 win over San Antonio on Monday. They'll look to make that three straight tonight when they take on Memphis at Target Center beginning at 7 p.m.

The Wolves went winless against the Grizzlies a year ago, but Minnesota and its new look team are poised to break that streak tonight at Target Center. The Timberwolves snapped a 16-game skid to San Antonio on Monday thanks to 57.7 percent shooting from the floor and superb play from its starters. Minnesota's starting five scored 86 of the team's 106 points, and all finished in double-digits. Kevin Love led the way with 24 points and 15 rebounds.

Defense makes the difference

Memphis has been hot and cold from the floor in its past two games. On Sunday against the Bulls' smothering defense, the Grizzlies shot 31 percent from the floor and were routed 104-64. The team's starters combined to shoot 8-for-41. In last night's 113-96 win over Sacramento, Memphis shot much better with a 54.9 field goal percentage. Six players finished in double-figures for the Grizzlies, including Rudy Gay with 23 points, Sam Young with 20 and O.J. Mayo with 16. Minnesota's strength this season has been its late-game defense, holding its opponents to 19 points per game in the fourth quarter.

Key matchup: Battle at the 5

The Wolves will be tested down low tonight, with 7-foot-1 Marc Gasol putting together a strong season at center. He's averaging 14.3 points per game to go along with 10.2 rebounds per contest, and he's brought down 10 or more rebounds in the past two games. Last night against the Kings, he put together a 14-point, 15-rebound showing. The Wolves can match him on the boards with Kevin Love averaging 15.2 rebounds per game, but Gasol's length could make him a factor offensively. Starting center Darko Milicic, at 7-foot, can match Gasol's height but is averaging 19.6 minutes per game compared to Gasol's 34 minutes per contest.

Winning the guard play

Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley leads the team with 4.7 assists per game and is swiping a team-high two steals per contest. He'll get his first taste of Minnesota's rotating guard play tonight and will likely see a mix of Luke Ridnour and Ricky Rubio. Both Wolves point guards are putting together strong early season campaigns, with Rubio averaging 6.4 assists per game and Ridnour coming off a season-high 19 point performance on Monday—a game in which he shot 7-of-10 from the floor.

3's the key

The Timberwolves are on a roll from 3-point range, finishing their past six quarters with a combined 21-of-33 from behind the arc. Over the past two games, Love has been particularly hot from 3-point land, hitting nine in that span and tying his career high with five 3-pointers against Dallas on Sunday. He's shooting 44 percent from 3-point range this season.

On Tuesday against Sacramento, the Grizzlies allowed nine 3-pointers to the Kings. Rookie Jimmer Fredette was the main culprit, hitting on 4-of-6 from behind the arc in the game. Minnesota's sharp shooting and Memphis' ability to keep them in check could factor into tonight's outcome.

Randolph misses Tuesday's game

The Grizzlies were without standout big man Zach Randolph on Tuesday after injuring his knee during the first quarter of Sunday's loss to Chicago. Randolph averaged 14.8 points and 7.5 rebounds per game over the first four games of the season.

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